Survey of Baguley Hall

302697_475415592502328_45512225_n487022_473927239317830_1747376991_n302697_475415579168996_1688557881_nDetailed Victorian-Era Survey of Baguley Hall

(Taken from ‘Old Halls of Lancashire and Cheshire’ available free on http://www.archive.org)

BAGULEY HALL, once an important mansion, but now much reduced in size, and used only as a farmhouse, is situated on rising ground about four miles to the west of Cheadle, and about six miles, as the crow flies, to the south of Manchester. It is thus just within the northern extremity of the county of Chester.

Portions of the present structure dates from the early Tudor and mid- Georgian epochs, but the only really ancient part which remains is the fine great hall, which, however, is one of the earliest now existing in Cheshire, and is full of interest.

The present length of the great hall is about thirty-four feet, but it is not improbable that the apartment extended originally about eight feet further to the south, giving room for the high table and its dais and canopy, though there are indications that the table may have stood in a canopied recess, as at Samlesbury Hall, beyond the existing south wall of the room.

The width of the great hall is twenty-eight feet. The height of the side walls, from the floor to the top of the wall-plate, is about seventeen feet, and from the floor to the top of the ridge about thirty-eight feet. The pitch of the roof is consequently very steep, as in the case of Tabley and Smithells, and almost all other buildings of similarly early date.

The ” passage ” is protected by a porch at its westerly end, on which side is the principal approach to the house. Behind the screen is the usual central doorway to the kitchen, which is reached by a passage curiously arched over in stone. This central doorway is flanked by those to the buttery and pantry. Neither at this end of the room nor elsewhere is there any indication of a minstrels’ gallery. In the great hall there are no vestiges either of a fireplace or of a louvre in the roof for the escape of smoke. In this respect again there is a correspondence with Smithells, and it is possible that, as at Smithells, the ingle-nook was in the lord’s chamber, at the back of the high table. The roof is open-timbered, and, as in most buildings of this early date, is rough and irregular in its workmanship. This characteristic is, however, less objectionable to the eyes of many artists than the neat and mechanical work of the time of Queen Anne, and some architects of the present day are even bold enough to imitate this earlier style.

The principal rafter forming the ** screens ” is a fine example of ancient woodwork. On plan it is narrowed, so as to form wide buttresses inside the apartment, consisting of massive oak framing, ten inches in thickness, and sheltering the occupants of the low tables. These buttresses or ** speeres ” are divided by massive cross-rails, one foot nine inches deep. The bottom division consists of plain panels. Above are arched and cusped openings, the character of which appears to date the erection very early in the fourteenth century. On the floor of the great hall is a much-worn recumbent effigy of a knight in armour. Mr. Tatton has supplied me with the following notes respecting this monument : — ” The effigy in the hall is that of Sir William Baguley, who lived in the fourteenth century, and was, I believe, the builder of the Old Hall. He was connected by marriage with the Leghs of Lyme and there is a tradition that the oak used in building the Hall was from the park at Lyme. The effigy was formerly in the Baguley chapel in old Bowdon church.”

The Rev. S. J. Allen, who sketched this Old Hall about the year 1840, seems to have been much impressed by the extraordinary size of the oak timber framing forming its walls, as he has carefully figured some of their dimensions. Thus by reference to Plate XXX. it will be seen that the head of the east doorway is cut out of a piece of oak nearly three feet wide, the main upright posts out of timber two feet six wide, and others in proportion. Not merely does this old building afford an instance of massive construction in oak work, but it also proves the great durability of this material, for the timbers here are in splendid condition.

The windows are tall and large for such early architecture, though the lights are narrow, being only one foot wide. The mullions are of solid oak, six inches square, the tops of the oak sills being about four feet from the floor. There are indications of the shutters, which in early times were used instead of glass, and of which a good example is found at Stokesay Castle, near Ludlow.

The timber framing of the side walls rests on a massive oak beam or sill, carried on a stone plinth about eighteen inches in height.

There are traditions that a moat formerly existed at Baguley Hall, but no traces of it are now visible.

From Ormerod’s ” History of Cheshire ” we learn that Sir William Baggiley was lord of Baggiley in 13 Edward H. His daughter Isabell, co-heiress with her brother John Baggiley, married Sir John Legh, of Booths, near Knutsford. Her son. Sir William Legh, of Baggiley succeeded, and the estate remained in the possession of the Legh family until the latter part of the seventeenth century, the last male heir being Edward Legh, Esq., who married Elinour, daughter of William Tatton, of Wythenshawe, Esq., and left three daughters.

Subsequently Baguley became the property of the Viscounts Allen, in whose hands it remained till the middle of the last century, when it passed by purchase to Joseph Jackson, of Rostherne, Esq. Mr. Jackson devised the estate by will to the Rev. Millington Massey, from whom it was^inherited by his daughter, and on her marriage in 1825 it was conveyed by the trustees of the marriage settlement to the father of the present owner, T. W. Tatton, of Wythenshawe, Esq.

FRIENDS OF BAGULEY HALL

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Some Background Information

As you are no doubt aware Baguley Hall has, for a number of years, been mired in red-tape and has been slowly deteriorating. This, after the extensive restoration work carried out from 1971-82. In 1969 the then owners, Manchester City Council gave Baguley Hall to the old Department of Works, this became the Department of the Environment and the current responsibility (and ownership) of the hall rests with its successor, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. English Heritage is the managing agents and also the regulators for Historic listed buildings and scheduled ancient monuments.

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Above. Remember the corrugated iron coat that protected the Hall from 1971 – 82?

Since the renovations were completed in 1982 English Heritage has tried to find a number of uses for The Hall-all to no avail. They’ve either proved not suitable or out of keeping with Manchester City Council policy or there have been no takers when it was put up for rental.

Until recently The City Council had a covenanted right of veto on any future plans for the hall if it didn’t agree with them. Since March 2012 they have given up this right.

A couple of years ago we came to the realisation that if it wasn’t happening, then we would at least have to try to make it happen. Conservative and Labour policy as regards unused historic structures is to be as inclusive to Community involvement as is practicable. In 2010 we contacted John Miller of Heritage Trust for the North West.  They have an excellent track record of restoring local landmarks and involving the community in the future management and direction of the restored properties. HTNW took the decision to try to purchase Baguley Hall. Hence;

Friends of Baguley Hall

Our marvellous old hall needs a like minded group of people to look after it. For 700 years it has looked out on us, it has been a stately manor house, a dowry gift from Tatton’s to Leighs, and a farm house for the subsistence farmers of North East Cheshire. It has been the centre for the ancient township of Baguley and seen the birth of Barry Parker’s design for the Garden City of Wythenshawe in the early 1930s and the development of a world class International Airport just a stone’s throw away.

The possibilities are limited only by our imaginations and our will to turn around and improve our area and, subject to funding, could include the following facilities:

A Folk memory museum

Community Cornerstone

Conference and Event facilities

Gallery

Cafe and Bar

A Centre of Excellence providing education and training in the theory and practice of Historic Asset Renewal

Office Space

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Restoring Baguley Hall…Regenerating Baguley

We will seek to register Friends of Baguley Hall as a Development Trust and a Registered Charity to operate as a not for profit community enterprise.

We believe that Baguley Hall can be become an Icon of regeneration for Baguley, it will be a multi-use centre that will provide local employment. Baguley Hall deserves to be a significant tourist attraction and is ideally situated to take full advantage of Manchester’s excellent and improving transport infrastructure being only yards away from a future Metrolink station, 5 minutes from the UK Motorway hub and bus stops. Baguley is situated 5 minutes drive from the new Airport City development – The master plan for Manchester Airport’s business and leisure enterprize zone rolls out over the next 15 years and Baguley can grow with it.

Now it’s time for us, the people of Baguley, of Wythenshawe and of Manchester and the wider community of Heritage and History lovers to look after it.

 

Educational Block

 

We would like to utilise the spare land to the south of the hall to build an educational facility that will specialise in training those who wish to gain experience and qualifications in the theory and practice of historic building conservation. This is a positive idea for our neighbourhood in that it will create jobs and will provide a sustainable training facility in the crafts and building skills associated with Heritage Conservation and provide cost neutral maintenance facilities for Baguley Hall.

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Above. Inside the Great Hall showing recent work

We need your help to formulate future plans for Baguley Hall and the ‘Friends of’ group is our chance as a community to become fully involved with all aspects of the restoration and management of one of Britain’s most architecturally important buildings. All are welcome. If you have a practical specialism you can bring to the project then that’s great but all you need initially is an enthusiasm for Baguley Hall and an interest in restoration and conservation.

This is a long term project, it will be a long road ahead, The Hall is basically structurally sound but without a sizeable programme of works this won’t be the case for very much longer. Substantial funds for immediate repair have been promised and we would hope to apply for Heritage Lottery Funding when we have formulated a future schedule of works. In addition we need to write a business plan for the future running of the hall.

We need to organise research to determine what are the best amenities for our community and the number of visitors we can attract, what revenue streams from imaginative uses of the hall and the effect of having a vibrant tourist attraction will have on our local economy.

We need to do research into the economic viability of our ideas to achieve maximum visitor numbers to provide the best outcome re job opportunities whilst weighing this against the need to protect the fragile structure of our ancient hall.

Moreover, the Project offers the following opportunities should you chose to take them:

This is a fantastic opportunity to see the rebirth of a long dormant community asset.

To have the satisfaction of seeing this project through from concept through to realisation.

Increase your Knowledge Base in Restoration and Conservation.

Contribute to the future economic well-being of our local area.

Provide training in aspects of conservation, building work, ongoing data gathering and maintenance of the hall.

See craftspeople using their specialist skills, these will include bricklayers, masons, carpenters, joiners, lath and lime mortar specialists.

To organise an ongoing programme of wood conservation and specialist humidity control for the Great Hall which is 700 years old.

Administration and management of a significant heritage asset.

A programme of educational visits to local schools.

Becoming a house guide – being conversant in the history of the hall, its context in the local area. The history of Cheshire, Baguley, Wythenshawe and Manchester.

Contact Details

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or call me, Mat on 07772 761913